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Taming the Paper Tiger at Work

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  • 1.  
  • 2. Taming the Paper Tiger at Work AUTHOR: Barbara Hemphill PUBLISHER: Kiplinger Books DATE OF PUBLICATION: 2003 NUMBER OF PAGES: 182 pages
  • 3.
    • Getting organized is not an easy task. Everyday, you are forced to deal with mountains of paper that contain both crucial information and useless garbage.
    • Without realizing it, you may have bred your very own paper tiger. Although paper can serve a great purpose, a huge amount of it can literally wreak havoc and harm productivity.
    • Barbara Hemphill, a well-known professional organizer, shares her expertise on how to effectively manage your files, take control of your time and produce effective results.
    THE BIG IDEA
  • 4. Getting Centered
    • Organize Your Thoughts
      • Constant procrastination often results in you realizing that your files have become unmanageable causing you to mismanage appointments and other work commitments.
      • “ I don’t have the time” is the most common alibi used to explain lack of organization.
      • By being organized, you are giving yourself the opportunity to come up with the right materials at exactly the right time they are needed.
    • Let FAT Work for You
      • F ile it.
      • A ct on it, or
      • T oss it.
  • 5. Getting Started
    • The Mechanics of Filing Paper
      • The simple task of filing paper involves mechanics. One of them involves the use of filing cabinets.
      • Once you start filing, labeling your files is crucial. A filing cabinet can store tons of information and it would be too much trouble to rummage through all that paper just to get a single page of information.
      • An effective way of labeling your files is by using color-coded folders.
    • Set Up Your File System
      • Pulling at every drawer of your cabinet and rifling through each folder to find the information you need is a tedious task.
      • Create a file system similar to catalogues used in libraries.
      • Label each cabinet and each folder. On the index cards, write the labels and what type of information they contain.
  • 6. Getting Started
    • Manage Your Contact Information
      • Files are not the only things you organize. You also have to manage the people you work with.
      • Remember that not all the files you need to complete a project will be available in your filing cabinet.
      • Nowadays, you can choose from a variety of technological equipment that can assist you in managing contact information.
    • Make the Most of Your Calendar
      • Not all information you receive are for filing or tossing.
      • When you receive a document that requires your action, ask yourself first if you are the appropriate person to do the job.
      • If you are the person responsible to do the task, it is important to know the deadline for that particular commitment.
      • Deadlines are best handled by calendars. Instead of jotting down notes on post-its or scratch papers, write down notes directly on your calendar.
  • 7. Getting Started
    • Eliminate Clutter with Your To-Do-List
      • It is important to make a To-Do List. A list will prevent you from scattering your files all over your desk as you battle with your judgment on which one to act on first.
      • In your list, enumerate the things that need to be finished before the end of the day. Classify them according to:
        • 1. Urgent and Important.
        • 2. Important but Not Urgent.
        • 3. Urgent but Not Important.
        • 4. Not Urgent and Not Important.
      • At the end of the day, go over this list and ask yourself what could have been the reason why. Ask yourself the following questions:
        • 1. Am I the right person for this task?
        • 2. Should I have allotted more time for this task?
        • 3. Should I have done this task in a different way?
  • 8.
    • Organize Your Computer
      • In an office where a computer is shared by two or more people, it is best to create your own electronic folder where you can store all of your files.
      • Clean out computer files that are no longer needed periodically.
      • Another way to safeguard your files is to create back-ups. You can use floppy disks, CDs, and external hard drives to back-up your files.
    • Maintain Your Filing System
      • Do not fall into this trap by keeping in mind that the information that needs to be filed is continuously being received everyday.
      • Remember, you have to clean your files whenever you can.
    Getting Started
  • 9. Organizing in Special Situations
    • When You Work From Home
      • Make sure you have a trusty computer and the necessary software installed to conduct your business. If you can afford it, a copy machine is another must-have tool.
      • To open ports of communication, a fax machine and telephones are needed.
      • Cordless phones allow you to move and perform multiple tasks. Be sure to subscribe to important services through your telephone company such as call waiting, caller ID and call forwarding.
      • Sometimes hiring an assistant is necessary. You may have deliberately overlooked doing so for fear of paying a large compensation.
  • 10. Organizing in Special Situations
    • When You Work on the Road
      • If your job calls for a lot of traveling, a cellular phone is a must. A voice mail subscription is necessary to make sure you can still get your messages when you are unable to answer all calls.
      • So you can continue working on the road, bring your laptop computer along with you.
      • A lot of establishments, including hotels, rent out Internet services using wireless routers. If you have your laptop with you, you can go ahead and continue communicating using the Internet without the need for cables.
      • A portable recorder may also be a big help.
  • 11. Organizing in Special Situations
    • When You Attend a Convention
      • Before you set out and attend a convention, make sure you have read all pertinent materials so it will be easy for you to outline what your objectives are.
      • Once you have arrived at your hotel room, create a mini-office so you can keep track of the papers you will gather from the convention everyday.
      • When the convention is over, organize these papers and ship them back home to avoid loss of documents while you travel.
  • 12. Organizing in Special Situations
    • When Your Space is Shared or Downsized
    • A recent occurrence in the corporate world today is workstation-sharing. This maximizes space and eliminates costs without sacrificing quality of work and productivity.
    • If you have to deal with a situation like this, remember that you need to show your courtesy to the other user. Do not share drawers to avoid loss or mismanagement of files.
          • -- Consider keeping some office supplies exclusive.
          • -- For supplies you can't use exclusively, make a deal with the alternate user to replenish cleaned-out supplies.
          • -- To keep track of whose turn it is, put it in writing.
          • -- At the end of the day, don't leave with your desk all cluttered.
  • 13.
    • Reorganizing the Organization
    • An overall assessment on how the current filing and organizing system has worked is crucial. Use the assessment to decide whether the system needs to be maintained or modified
    • It is also of utmost important that an annual Clean-Out Day must be set. Not only is it always refreshing to start the year clean and neat, it is important that other people understand the importance of organization.
    • When cleaning out files, you must have retention guidelines. You must decide among yourselves which of the files are no longer needed by the company and therefore must go. To do it more effectively, you can have the person who originally received the file decide if it should be retained or not.
    Organizing in Special Situations
  • 14. BusinessSummaries.com is a business book Summaries service. Every week, it sends out to subscribers a 9- to 12-page summary of a best-selling business book chosen from among the hundreds of books printed out in the United States every week. For more information, please go to http://www.bizsum.com. ABOUT BUSINESSSUMMARIES